Last month, WPP, SnapChat and Daily Mail joined forces and announced Truffle Pig, a digital agency focused on developing branded content for new digital platforms.
In announcing the new agency, WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell stated:
In a digital world overflowing with content, consumers crave quality. A next-generation company, Truffle Pig combines the best in media, content and user experience to satisfy people’s appetite for great storytelling – and inspire brand engagement, loyalty and sales.
As The Wall Street Journal’s Mike Shields notes, “in many cases [advertisers’] ad agencies and media partners are already tasked with producing sponsored content,” which begs the question: why should advertisers work with an agency like Truffle Pig?
According to Truffle Pig’s CEO, Alexander Jutkowitz, Truffle Pig’s vision is to offer clients access to strategy, production and distribution under a single roof.
Initially, Truffle Pig clients will have access to SnapChat’s production facilities, and ostensibly be able to tap into the expertise of the SnapChat team. While the agency today can offer distribution via SnapChat and DailyMail.com, it is also planning to work with media platforms beyond those operated by its founding partners.
In theory, there’s a lot to like about the Truffle Pig model. Agencies are increasingly pressured to keep up to speed with new platforms and ad products that are emerging on an almost daily basis, and not all of them are going to be able to do this well.
An agency backed by some of the companies behind popular platforms and innovative ad products should have advantages in today’s fast-moving market.
But whether Truffle Pig represents the agency of the future or not will depend on more than just theory.
There’s a real potential conflict of interest between strategy and distribution when a distribution platform owns a significant piece of an agency, and for that reason, groups like Truffle Pig will have to prove that they’re true agencies, not just sales organizations for media sellers masquerading as agencies.